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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Advances in medicine mean health care professionals can prolong life, yet some treatments have a low chance of providing tangible benefits to some patients, can result in a ‘bad death’, and represent a multi-million dollar cost to the public. Professor Adrian Barnett from the Queensland University of Technology discusses the study he is involved in which looks to increase awareness among hospital clinicians of the extent of non-beneficial treatment at the end-of-life and stimulate action to reduce it.
The internet has provided a mechanism to make palliative care information freely accessible. However, the complexity of palliative care and situational stresses can influence a person’s ability to easily find, navigate and understand online information. It is for this reason that many developers of websites providing palliative care information conduct a usability evaluation during the development process. Amanda Adams discusses her research into evaluation of usability and accessibility during the development stage of an online resource or toolkit and whether this improves access and value.
Translating research into practice and policy is an international priority. However, despite our best efforts, research findings often fail to be translated into practice. Translating knowledge into clinical care can also take a very long time, which when it comes to palliative care may be too late. So what can help us translate knowledge into practice more quickly? Barbara Daveson from PCOC (Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration) discusses knowledge translation and how it can help to improve outcomes in palliative care.
Due to advances in medicine, people with physical disabilities are living longer. While end-of-life care should be readily accessible for this group, the care needs of people with significant physical disabilities arguably adds an additional layer of complexity to such care. Dr Ruth Walker from Flinders University discusses end-of-life care needs for adults with long-standing physical disability and the new research she is involved in to explore the specific needs of people with physical disabilities who are at the end-of-life, as well as the needs of their families and the support staff who help care for them.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is the peak body for palliative care representing all those who work towards high quality palliative care for all Australians. Working with the government, it sets the standard by which services can be assessed. Kate Reed-Cox from PCA discusses how the new Palliative Care Self Assessment program provides services with a secure online portal to self-assess against the National Palliative Care Standards (5th ed.), and the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (2nd ed.), resulting in a quality improvement action plan.